11 February 2010

Book Review: The Celebrity Mother by Deborah Wright

Karina’s celebrity star is falling fast, and she wants to get it on the rise again so what better way to do it than to adopt a child?! Karina, accompanied by the obligatory journalist of course, flies out to India to take home the little girl from the Orphanage who has been selected for her, named Devika.

Karina is sure that the press will love her “good will gesture” but she hasn’t a clue what being a mother to a child involves, let alone to Devika who has her own culture, problems with speaking English and finds it difficult to adjust to life in Britain. Thrown into the mix Karina’s ex-boyfriend Liam and you’ve got trouble brewing. Karina wanted more fame, but is it going to come at too high a price for her and Devika?

I’d never heard of Deborah Wright before I read this book so I didn’t know what to expect from her work at all. The book was initially due to be released last year with a black cover that looked a little tacky if I have to be honest, but then it was pushed back to a January release with a brand new cover, and I think it’s a much better look for the book overall. With celebrity adoption being such a “popular” thing to do at the moment, I was curious to see how Wright would tackle the subject and whether she would make it like a fictional version of a real celebrity’s adoption!

If I’m honest, I found the book a little hard to get into because I thought the main character of Karina wasn’t particularly nice and I found it hard to warm to her. However, I perservered with the book and I am glad I did because it soon picked up in pace and took a much better turn that I enjoyed a lot more. It did take a while for me to get into the story and I did wonder how long it would take until I was totally into it, but once the story of the adoption got into full swing, I liked it a lot more and Wright seemed to get into her stride with the book.

Karina was definitely one of the celebrity’s we love to hate such as Katie Price, Jodie Marsh etc. Karina is very focussed on being famous and seems to want to do anything to stay in the limelight, and so we can immediately see that the adoption isn’t for genuine reasons. I wondered how how Wright was going to make this story seem less farcical and turn it into something that would be a little more serious and less ridiculous. I found Karina had a real turnaround around halfway through the book but for me that was a little long for a main character to become likeable to a reader.

Devika, however, was a different matter altogether. Wright has clearly done her research on conditions in India, their orphangages and Indian culture because all of these things come across incredibly well in the book, and she really manages to capture the innocence, confusion and fear of Devika within her short chapters. Wright has chosen to have Devika narrate the odd chapter in between Karina’s narrated ones, and I felt this was a good choice as it gives a different viewpoint for the reader and opens up Devika’s character a lot more.

I felt that Wright has tackled a lot of serious issues within the book, and this definitely becomes more apparent as the book progresses. The relationship between Karina and her ex-boyfriend is well explored, as well as the effect it has on Devika, Karina’s obsession with fame and also how the press play a part in creating a world around these people that isn’t properly real. Wright covers these topics in a serious way in the book, relating them well to both Karina and Devika so it has a realistic feel to it and made me a bit more emotionally connected with the book, and I felt like I wanted to read on to find out how Devika and Karina were going to work things out in the end.

The end few chapters of the book were definitely the best for me. This is because Wright takes the book off in a totally unexpected and different direction from the rest of the book, and its a very powerful ending that really opens your eyes. Considering I didn’t get on with this book at first, I was engrossed by the end and wishing that Devika and Karina would live happily ever after. It’s very well written, with the first person narratives of Devika and Karina working really well together and giving us a rounded story. I thoroughly enjoyed this, especially from around halfway through and onwards, and I’d recommend it.

Rating: 4/5

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